The journey through brace treatment should be relatively straightforward for most patients and everyone should be really happy with the final result when the treatment is done. However for some patients their journey is not so smooth and little doubts start to creep in. In the main, the dentist or orthodontist should be able to reassure and get things back on course and if they are worth their salt they will go out of their way to put things right if they can. But what happens if the relationship with the orthodontist or dentist breaks down and the brace treatment is finished leaving the patient with a result that is less than they were hoping for or worse still they’re left with incomplete treatment and no-one to turn to?
Sadly it does happen. We do see a few patients each year who are looking for further treatment because they haven’t got their desired result the first time elsewhere. I want to help you avoid this if I can, especially as it could end up costing you more in the long run. Over the next 3 blogs I will look at why things go wrong and hopefully give you some useful information to help you take control of your orthodontic journey so it doesn’t happen to you.
Why things go wrong – Part 1
The result doesn’t match the expectations:
One of the most important skills we have as clinicians is knowledge. The more training we have and experience to back that up, the better we can diagnose and treatment plan. But it’s really easy to focus on the teeth and not the person who owns them! I was once told that we have one mouth but 2 ears and we should use them in that proportion! – meaning we should listen more than we speak. It’s really important to get to the bottom of what patients want from their treatment, especially as it may not be something that can be fixed by braces alone. Being clear on what you expect from your treatment is really important.
Also when the options for treatment are laid out for you, you need to know the pros and cons of each approach. This is even more important if you are having “Limited outcome” treatment such as six month smiles, fast braces, c-fast or Inman aligners.
Part of our role in your treatment is to guide you through the decision process by giving you the necessary information to make that decision. We call this informed consent. The other aspect of our role is to manage your expectations of treatment – otherwise you don’t get what you want.
In part 2 I will cover the next reason why things go wrong – The wrong plan was made for your treatment